The Cleveland Cavaliers can reach their third straight NBA Finals – and face the Golden State Warriors yet again – with a win in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Thursday night as the series heads back to Boston. MyBookie oddsmakers expect a Cavs win as they are double-digit favorites. But the Celtics have the home court advantage. It could be the last chance for Boston to stay alive in the NBA Playoffs. It’s going to be a hell of a game, so let’s take a look at the NBA odds and preview for Game 5.
Cleveland at Boston NBA Playoffs Odds & Game 5 Preview
Why Bet On Cleveland?
The Cavs didn’t play well for the first half of their home game Tuesday night in Game 4 but prevailed 112-99 to take a 3-1 lead over the Celtics. For the second game in a row, the Cavs’ best player wasn’t LeBron James. This time it was Kyrie Irving.
Irving broke his own record for points in a playoff game by a LeBron teammate Tuesday, scoring a career-playoff- high 42. The performance helped the Cavs overcome a 16-point deficit. Irving’s previous career playoff high was 41 points, in Game 5 of the NBA Finals last season against the Golden State Warriors. That had been the most points a James teammate had scored in the postseason. The entire arena went silent when Irving rolled his left ankle near the end of the third quarter, but he was able to stay in and said after the game that he felt “great.”
James bounced back from a horrible Game 3 with 34 points on 15-of-27 shooting, adding six assists, five rebounds, one steal, one block and one triple in 38 minutes. After an 11-point dud in Game 3, LeBron got off to another tough start with four fouls in the first half — he was forced to sit the final seven minutes of the second quarter. Over the last 6 minutes, 46 seconds of the second quarter, Irving put in 12 points to help the Cavs play the Celtics even with James on the bench. However, LeBron came alive after the break with 24 of his 34 points, helping the Cavaliers outscore the Celtics 65-42 in the second half.
Kevin Love grabbed a playoff career-high 17 rebounds to go with 17 points, five assists, one steal, two blocks and three 3-pointers. Love has been dominant in this series with averages of 24.5 points, 12.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.3 blocks. James, Irving and Love combined for 93 points, the most points the Cavs’ three All-Stars have combined to score in a playoff game in their three seasons together.
The Cavs shot 59.5 percent for the game, tying their franchise record for best postseason shooting performance.
Why Bet On Boston?
The Celtics were shocking winners of Game 3 despite star Isaiah Thomas being ruled out for the season and they were the team with more energy in the first half of Game 4 in leading by as many as 16 in the first half, but eventually talent won over.
With 5:30 left in the second quarter, and LeBron on the bench with 4 fouls, the Celtics took a 16-point lead. From that point on, Cleveland outscored Boston 79-50. James and Irving alone scored more points in that stretch (60) than Boston.
Marcus Smart fell back to earth in the 112-99 loss, scoring eight points on 1-of- 9 shooting. He had nowhere to go but down after his incredible 27-point performance on 8-of- 14 FGs in Game 3, but the law of averages caught up with the career 35.8 percent shooter. He made his second straight start at PG and dished out six assists with one rebound, one assist and one steal in 40 minutes.
Kelly Olynyk started Game 4 vs. the Cavaliers on Tuesday and scored 15 points in 26 minutes. He started in place of Amir Johnson (shoulder) and finished 7-of- 14 from the field with five rebounds, three assists, one steal and two blocks, but he missed both of his 3-point attempts. Johnson didn’t play at all and is questionable for Game 5.
Jae Crowder strained his left thigh in Tuesday’;s Game 4 loss to the Cavaliers, but he said after the game that he’s “fine.” Crowder went back to the locker room for a few minutes, but quickly returned and appeared to be moving around OK. He was effective on offense with 18 points, eight rebounds, four assists and four 3-pointers in 40 minutes.
The Celtics needed someone they could lean on in the fourth quarter. Al Horford did his best for a stretch, and his back-to-back buckets had the Celtics within six with under six minutes to play. But there would be no clutch baskets without Thomas.
“They’re a different team when I.T. is — I won’t say a different team, they run different things just because of I.T. being a huge piece of the puzzle for them, offensively,” James said.
Cleveland at Boston NBA Playoffs Game 5: Boston Celtics
Cavs win the game and the series — James’ teams are 11-0 all time in series that they led 3-1 – but Celtics cover.